Kashan’s Fin Garden, a Paradise on Earth

A04142303.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Persian gardens are open green spaces designed and built with similar principals, and techniques. Influenced by the Iranian culture and civilization, they have stood the test of time for thousands of years throughout the entire region.

The period between the reign of King Abbas I (1587-1629 AD) to the reign of King Abbas II (1642-1665 AD) was the pinnacle of the development of the art of the garden in the Safavid era.

One of the gardens which has played an important role in Iranian history is Kashan’s Fin Garden, a complex combining the architectural features of Safavid, Zand and Qajar periods.

The city of Kashan lies in a desert at the eastern foot of the Central Iranian Plateau, 220 kilometers south of Tehran, and used to be a popular vacation spot for Safavid Kings.

Like many other Persian gardens of the Safavid era, the Fin Garden, originally designed for Shah Abbas I (1587-1629 AD), offers a Persian perspective of Paradise and has many water features which quarter the area.

The nearby Soleymaniyeh Spring, combined with a brilliantly designed underground water management system (the Qanat), provides an abundant supply of water which flows into several pools used for watering the garden’s extensive orchards containing some 579 cypress and 11 plane trees.

The Garden’s circulating pools, canals lined with blue-green tiles, and fountains have been craftily constructed to operate without the need for mechanical pumps.

The main courtyard, the most important feature of the garden, is surrounded by four ramparts and towers and spans an area encompassing 1.7 hectares of the 2.3-hectare garden.

A central passage in the main courtyard connects the loft (Sardarkhaneh) at the front of the garden to the alcove (Shahneshin) at the end of the garden.

The Fin Garden, which is modeled on the Char Bagh school, a quadrangular plan of Persian paradise garden, was listed as a national heritage site in 1935.

The Garden shelters the remains of Shah Abbas’ two-story palace and other Safavid royal buildings.

Although the Qajar dynasty substantially replaced and rebuilt many of the Safavid structures, the layout of trees and marble basins have remained roughly intact.

One point of interest in the garden is the bathhouse in which the Iranian nationalist hero, Amir Kabir was assassinated.

Amir Kabir, who served as a prime minister under Nasir-al Din Shah from 1848- 1851, is remembered as a modernizer who instituted significant change in many areas, most notably in the fields of education and administration.

His national popularity provoked the hatred and enmity of the courtiers; subsequently, he was imprisoned in the Garden and later assassinated in the bathhouse, Fin Bath, upon an order by Nasir-al Din Shah in 1852.

A museum has been erected in the western part of Fin Garden, which houses archaeological finds from Tappeh Sialk, Choqa Zanbil, Hassanlu, Khorvin, and Lorestan.

The beautiful and historic Persian gardens located in Isfahan, Shiraz, Behshahr, Birjand and Yazd have their own tale to tell of the rich history and artistic vision of Persia.

By: Hedieh Ghavidel

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